6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Answered and How to Fix Them

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is clean and running right, you shouldn’t be smelling anything strange. Unusual air conditioner noises and odd smells are a hint that something is up. If your air conditioner is old or you haven’t had service completed lately, they can be a sure sign you need pro air conditioning repair in New Castle.

Here are six of the top air conditioner smells and how you can resolve them.

1. Central Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If your air conditioner smells bad when turned on, especially a chemical smell, isn’t a positive sign. You could also notice your:

  • Air conditioner smells like paint thinner
  • Home air conditioner smells sweet

These sweet, chemical smells are often a hint that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to shift heat through copper coils, which can break out over time.

4 Hints You Are Dealing with a Refrigerant Leak

In addition to the strange smell, here are four other hints that you are experiencing a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is operating.
  2. Ice on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. It’s hard keeping your home cool or reaching your programmed temperature.
  4. Higher electrical bills.

How You Can Repair It

A refrigerant leak calls for professional support from a heating and cooling company like Central Heating & Plumbing. Your cooling professional will locate and repair the leak before recharging your system with refrigerant.

Fixing a refrigerant leak usually costs between $225 and $1,600, according to nationwide averages put together by HomeAdvisor. Your total cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how much time it takes to repair.

If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, there’s a good chance it has R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured due to its negative effects on the ozone layer. Consequently, repairs can be extremely expensive so it may be smartest to do air conditioning installation in this situation.

2. Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like rotten eggs, there’s possibly nothing wrong with it. But there’s a good chance you have a natural gas leak in your home. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to warn you when there’s a leak, since the gas can be toxic in large amounts.

How You Can Solve It

If you detect a sulfur or rotten egg odor, we suggest:

  • Shutting off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Evacuating your home promptly.
  • Call your gas company without delay.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

Individuals who call us regarding this problem frequently share their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it runs. Also known as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is frequently linked to a dirty evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Condensation can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most typical in locations where you need heating at night and during the morning before transitioning to cooling during the afternoon.

How to Fix It

The best approach for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to regularly replace your air filter and schedule routine air conditioning maintenance with Central Heating & Plumbing. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system flowing, as stagnant water can also lead to unpleasant odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are dealing with air conditioner mildew smell or a strong, vinegar-like odor, it could be prompted by several situations, such as:

  • A filthy filter
  • Excess condensation
  • Clogged condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Fix It

Examine your filter first. If you haven’t put in a new one within the last three months and can’t see light through it, you should replace it. If that doesn’t solve the problem, reach Central Heating & Plumbing at 724-401-1843.

5. Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If you’re dealing with an air conditioner burning smell or that your air conditioner smells like fish, there could be a number of things wrong. These involve:

  • Broken capacitator that’s overheating the motor.
  • Motor that should have lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical problem.

Electrical issues should be checked immediately to prevent a fire. If you detect burning plastic when your air conditioner is operating, turn it off and reach us at 724-401-1843 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

A powerful ammonia odor means there might be mold spreading inside your air conditioner or ductwork. The smell isn’t the mold itself, but the mycotoxins that mold produces.

How to Fix It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your health. That’s why it’s important to have a specialist like Central Heating & Plumbing check your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when needed.

Our Professionals Can Get Rid of Weird Air Conditioner Smells Fast

You deserve to be comfortable in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you are seeking relief from your smelly air conditioner, give us a call at 724-401-1843. We’ll determine the trouble quickly and fix it at a competitive.